NASA Completes First Tests On Next-Generation Rocket Engine
NASA engineers successfully completed in 2008 the first series of tests in the early development of the J-2X engine that will power the upper stages of the Ares I and Ares V rockets. Ares I will launch the Orion spacecraft that will take astronauts to the International Space Station and on to the moon by 2020. Ares V will carry cargo and components into orbit for trips to the moon and later to Mars. NASA conducted nine tests of heritage J-2 engine components from December to May as part of a series designed to verify J-2 performance data and explore performance boundaries. Engineers at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., conducted the tests on a heritage J-2 "powerpack," which, in a fully assembled engine, pumps liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the engine's main combustion chamber to produce thrust. The test hardware consisted of J-2 components used from the Apollo program in the1960s through the X-33 program in the 1990s.
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